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DVD Review

DVD cover

Love, Marilyn


Starring: Marilyn Monroe
Distributor: StudioCanal
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Release Date: 28 October 2013

Marilyn Monroe invented her public persona at the expense of concealing a private side known only to her close confidants. Fifty years after her death, her creation still blazes brightly in our cultural imagination, while the creator continues to lurk in the shadows. Drawing on never-before-seen personal papers, diaries and letters, Academy-award nominated director Liz Garbus worked with acclaimed actresses to evoke the multiple aspects of the real Marilyn - passion, ambition, soul-searching, power and fear – in an absorbing and astonishing portrait. These documents, brought to life in this film by some of our contemporary icons and stars, give us a new and revelatory understanding of Monroe, revealing her carefully guarded inner life...

Love, Marilyn is yet another look at the life of one of modern histories most famous media personalities. Everyone knows that the real Monroe was far removed from her public persona; that she created "her" in order to give the masses what they wanted from a public figure. Larger than life, and not afraid to speak her mind, Monroe also had to battle with the studios' idea of how a woman of her appearance should be represented on the screen.

Regularly cast as dumb blond characters, Monroe constantly fought to get more rounded roles. The public and behind the scenes spats are legendary and this film touches on them. She was also a woman who did not believe true love was possible and yet sought it all her life. This is an actress who at the height of her fame abandoned Hollywood to study acting with Lee Strasberg - in a room of resentful unknowns, because she wanted to be taken seriously.

This documentary uses a number of famous actors to portray the numerous male characters in Monroe's life, and more interestingly features numerous strong woman actresses to act out her own words (which were apparently recently discovered in private notes she kept). Actresses include Elizabeth Banks, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Viola Davis, Jennifer Ehle, Lindsay Lohan, Lili Taylor, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.

If I had one slight moan, it's that almost all of the actresses approach this as though it were Shakespeare - which it's not. If the notes are real, they are merely the private thoughts and scribblings of one very sensitive individual who was, like us all, trying to make sense of the world she lived in.

Extras include Interview with Director - Liz Garbus (9 min, 42 sec); and Trailer (2 min, 07 sec).

It was interesting to learn that Hugh Hefner probably owes the success of Playboy to Monroe. Apparently he bought the nude Monroe pictures for next to nothing and made them the main feature of his launch of Playboy. Apparently he never paid or thanked Monroe either.

It was also interesting to hear director John Huston using Monroe as the excuse when the filming of Misfits was shut down for a period. While Monroe may well have been "unwell", Huston's drinking and heavy gambling was the main reason.

For Marilyn fans this is an interesting look back on the life of their idol and for those who don't really know that much about her, this will help you to appreciate her contribution to Hollywood.


Darren Rea

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